Latest trends in food and drink packaging

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Paper and plastic both have roles to play in this packaging round-up
Paper and plastic both have roles to play in this packaging round-up

Related tags Packaging & labelling

Packaging-free aisles in Aldi, paper packs for Smarties and cardboard beer sleeves all feature in our latest food and drink packaging round-up.
Aldi Package Free Products (2)
Aldi's packaging free option in store

Aldi goes packaging-free

Discount retailer Aldi has launched its first packaging-free products in store, in a bid to help customers shop more sustainably.

The trial is available at one store in Ulverston, Cumbria, with plans to develop its refillable options in other stores in the future if successful. Four household staples – basmati rice, brown rice, penne pasta and whole wheat fusilli – are available to buy loose in store.

The retailer hoped to remove more than 130 tonnes – the equivalent of more than 21 pieces – of plastic from its stores with this model.

Richard Gorman, plastics and packaging director at Aldi, said: “We’re always looking for new ways to reduce waste plastic and limit packaging, as many of our shoppers are increasingly conscious of the environment and their impact on it.

“We hope local customers embrace the trial and we will use their feedback to inform any future plans around refillable products.”


Smarties paper packaging

Paper packaging for Smarties

Smarties has become the first confectionery brand to move to recyclable paper packaging in Australia

The switch to the new packaging material was first announced by owner Nestlé in January this year and was described as a world first.

The new packaging is made from sustainably sourced thermoformable paper and is dynamic enough to be printed on with either flexographic or gravure technology and finished with a heat or cold-seal adhesive.

Nestlé worked with Amcor to introduce the packaging across the Smarties chocolate block and bar product range. The packaging is fully-recyclable and can go in home recycling bins.

Simon Roy, vice president and general manager at Amcor Flexibles Australia & New Zealand said: “This new range of packaging reaffirms our commitment to ensuring all our packaging is designed to be recyclable or reusable by 2025.”


carling 4x500ml new packaging left facing
Cardboard wrap for canned beers

Molson Coors removes plastic rings

Brewer Molson Coors has removed plastic rings and introduced a fully recyclable cardboard sleeve for can multipacks of all its major brands, including Carling and Coors.

The move sees Molson in the UK hit its target to remove all single-use plastic from Carling and Coors packaging by the end of April 2021.

It followed the introduction of recyclable cardboard large-format multipacks in 2020. Since 2019, the company has removed more than 700 tonnes of single-use plastic from its operations. 

Produced by paper-based solutions supplier, Graphic Packaging International, the one-piece cartonboard wrap features a shaped interior design that securely holds the cans, as well as a locking mechanism so that adhesive isn’t required to keep the box closed.

Western Europe operations director at Molson Coors Fraser Thomson said: “By removing unnecessary packaging where possible, while ensuring the contents remain secure throughout the supply chain, this recyclable solution allows us to continue to meet our environmental commitments with a consumer-friendly, fit-for-purpose pack, which places sustainability front of mind.”


Bag-in-Box When in Rome wine
Bag-in-box from Smurfit Kappa

Bag-in-box receives Amazon certification

Smurfit Kappa’s innovative three litre Bag-in-Box packaging design has received Amazon’s ‘Frustration-Free Packaging’ (FFP) certification. 

Businesses selling on Amazon Marketplace can now use this ready to go, pre-certified Bag-in-Box design avoiding the need to go through costly and sometimes time-consuming testing at a specialised ISTA certified laboratory to gain FFP certification.

Bag-in-Box is designed for transporting liquids – such as juices and wine – to be sold online. It is robust enough to protect the product during transit and its shape allows for optimal logistical efficiency and handling. Bag-in-Box reportedly uses on average 75% less plastic than rigid plastic packaging and has ‘easy to separate’ materials, therefore guaranteeing high recycling rates.

Smurfit Kappa vice-president of Innovation and Development Arco Berkenbosch said: “It is a testament to the experience Smurfit Kappa has gathered conducting ISTA certified packaging analysis and Amazon FFP certification over the past 14 years. This new collaboration gives businesses the opportunity to sell through Amazon Marketplace at a much faster speed.”


Film used by Berry Garden contains 30% post-consumer recyclate

Recycled film for berry and stone fruits

Berry and stone fruit processor Berry Gardens has partnered with packaging manufacturer Coveris to launch a new printed lidding film containing over 30% post-consumer recyclate (PCR).

The food safe PCR film is now available nationwide across all major multiple Berry Gardens lines including strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and other stone fruit.

According to Berry Gardens, the new recycled film reduces carbon impact by significantly offsetting the requirement for virgin polymer and removing around 53,000 tonnes from the supply-chain annually.

Siobhan Parks, Berry Gardens’ head of packaging, said: “As a business we are working with partners like Coveris to help us reduce our reliance on virgin plastics and establish more responsible business practices.

“Moving to the rPET film on our punnets will allow us to have the same transparency and technical properties as virgin material, but with reduced carbon impact and significant plastic reduction from the supply chain.”

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